Conrad Shawcross: Control

Location One presents the New York premiere of a young star on the contemporary British art scene

Shawcross, Location One’s first International Fellow, has produced an ambitious new work titled Slow Arc III, which demonstrates the artist’s continued interest in mathematics, cosmology and epistemology. The installation will re-open from September 9th – 26th, 2009 with special public programming.

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009, 6–8 PM
(open to the public)
DATES: September 9th – 26th, 2009
HOURS: Tuesday-Saturday 12–6 PM

SLow arc inside a cube Lattice Cube IV

Shawcross is known for his multi-media, kinetic sculptures and mysterious structures that are imbued with an appearance of scientific rationality yet beneath the surface are also haunted by the search for the unobtainable and inexpressible. In this new work the artist continues the series of investigations that started with Slow Arc Inside a Cube (2008), which was initially inspired by the late British chemist Dorothy Hodgkin, who said deciphering the structure of pig insulin ‘was like trying to work out the structure of a tree from seeing only its shadow’.” In this new work, however, instead of the path of light being traced by an articulated arm locked into a fixed cycle, the light can move anywhere, by means of a computer-controlled system, within the confines of the mesh cage and thus create and endless series of unpredictable spatial ‘throws’ into the room around it.

The drawings included in the exhibition continue the artist series titled Dumbbells. For this series produced during his time at Location One the artist has chosen to investigate one particular chord, the Major Sixth (5:3). Created by a gravity-driven machine that like Slow Arc operates within a narrow band of parameters, the drawings are visual extrapolations of this particular harmonic. The artist sees the ‘throws’ of light from Slow Arc III as very much linked to these drawings in which the illusion of three-dimensionality is created through line. Both mechanisms divorce the artist’s hand from the process of art-making and instead put in place a series of variables, sometimes predictable, sometimes arbitrary, from which the visual results manifest.

Other works in the show include Lattice Cube IV and Lattice Cube II, both dated 2008, which continue the artist’s interests in the geometry of the tetrahedron and notions of the Big Bang. Lastly the newest work in the show titled The Celestial Meters consists of a series of nine, stainless steel rods arranged around the space. Inspired by the history of the meter, which was conceived of in 1799 during the French Revolution as an attempt to get away from the Imperial system of the foot. In order to do this a new scale or control was needed. It was decided that the size of the earth would be the best thing to use for this absolute. As a consequence the meter is supposedly one ten millionth of the sector of the earth through Paris. Each of the nine rod’s lengths are based on this division of their own sector, so as a result Pluto is only 7 inches long whereas Jupiter is around 35 feet.

Another thread that formally links the works in Shawcross’s exhibition is a preoccupation with cosmology and radiant geometry, where everything emanates from a single point, expanding out from a central nucleus.

Born in 1977, Shawcross lives and works in London. He has had solo exhibitions at Jenaer Kunstverein, Germany (2008), The New Art Gallery, Walsall, and The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (2005), and the National Maritime Museum (2004). His work has also been exhibited internationally at institutions including Musée d’art Contemporain, Lyon (2008), Art Basel | 39 (2008), La Chapelle de L’Ecole National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris (2008), The Saatchi Gallery (2004) and Manifesta 5, San Sebastian, Spain (2004). He is represented by the Victoria Miro Gallery in London and will have a New York solo gallery exhibition with Pace Wildenstein in the Spring of 2010.


Current Location One Related Press:

The New York Times Magazine – The Moment [link] – PDF
Vanity Fair [link] – PDF
Art In America [link] – PDF
The Village Voice [link] – PDF
New York Art Beat [link] – PDF
The New York Times: Art in Review [link] – PDF

Media Contact

For further information on this exhibition or Location One, or for images or interviews, please contact Steve Cukierski at 212-334-3347 or via email at